Mumbaikars would have to wait till December for the commissioning of phase I of the Mumbai monorail project, and till March 2013 for phase I of the Mumbai Metro rail project. The projects together entail an investment of Rs 5,156 crore.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, while reviewing the implementation of various infrastructure projects in Mumbai, admitted the monorail project between Wadala and Chembur was delayed due to issues involving land, removal of encroachments and delays in securing permissions from the civic body and the railways. He added the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar metro phase I project, awarded to Reliance Infrastructure in 2006, was also delayed due to resettlement and rehabilitation of families affected by the project, apart from issues related to clearances from the railways and the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
Chavan said carrying out such major infrastructure projects in the densely populated areas of Mumbai was a challenge. “Sometimes, big infrastructure projects face awkward situations. Resettlement and rehabilitation of families affected by the projects is a huge challenge. Of course, we are working very hard to complete all the civil work by the end of this year, conduct the required tests and begin commercial operations by March next year,” he said.
On the current status of the Rs 7,660 crore metro phase II project awarded to Reliance Infrastructure, he said its implementation was yet to start, as the MoEF had objected to the site proposed for the metro car depot. “The site was covering mangroves. There was a proposal to develop the car depot on stilts, but the MoEF said washing metro cars could pollute the mangroves. Now, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the nodal agency for these projects, has identified an alternate site, but it needs to be approved by the MoEF," Chavan said. He added the MMRDA would have to decide on whether the second phase would be underground or elevated.
The foundation stone for the project was laid by President Pratibha Patil in August 2009. According to the original plan, the second phase of the metro would be completed by 2013.
“Our priority, after all, is to complete the projects and provide commuter-friendly infrastructure to citizens as early as possible,” Chavan said.
The chief minister also reviewed the progress on the Eastern Freeway and the Anik-Panjarpol Link Road. The two phases of the project entail an investment of Rs 943.64 crore and are scheduled to be completed by December. The third phase, or the Panjarpol-Ghatkopar Link Road, accounts for investment of Rs 191.82 crore.